Nearly 2 million pilgrims have registered for the Umrah in Saudi Arabia via a smartphone app in one month. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Nearly 2 million pilgrims have registered for performing the Umrah in Saudi Arabia via a smartphone app in one month, a local newspaper reported, citing official figures.

Earlier last month, Saudi Arabia launched a plan for gradual resumption of the Umrah after suspension of around seven months due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

Around 900,000 worshippers have since also used the app to register for praying in the Grand Mosque in the Holy city of Mecca, according to figures from the Ministry of the Hajj and Umrah.

The Etamarnah app is available for registering to perform the Umrah as well as to visit the Two Holy Mosques and Al Rawdah Al Sherifa in the Prophet Mosque in Medina.

For registration, the faithful have to load the app, enter their own data, choose available dates for the Umrah or prayers in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet Mosque, and obtain the related permit, Sabq online newspaper explained.

Curb the spread

The app is part of Saudi stringent precautions in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus among pilgrims and worshippers.

On October 4, Saudi Arabia set into motion the first phase of the plan, allowing 6,000 Umrah pilgrims from inside the kingdom per day.

The second went into effect on October 18, allowing about 40,000 worshippers and 10,000 pilgrims a day into the Grand Mosque.

As many as 20,000 Umrah pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day are allowed to perform prayers at the mosque, according to the current third phase

The first batches of Umrah pilgrims from outside the kingdom began arriving on November 1 and performing the ritual after three days of mandatory health self-isolation.